Armed Iowa City man accused of driving into Scheels went for more ammunition, police say

Joseph Moreno faces felony charges, no longer in jail

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After an Iowa City man rammed his vehicle through a popular sporting goods store Saturday while armed with a handgun, he smashed a glass case in the store containing ammunition and firearms and admitted to “dry firing” several weapons, police reported.

The chain of events that precipitated Joseph Albert Moreno’s encounter with police inside Scheels All Sports in the Coral Ridge Mall began at his Iowa City apartment at 220 Lafayette St. #201, according to a criminal complaint.

Moreno’s roommate told investigators that Moreno was drinking alcohol and indicated that he wanted to leave the apartment. When the roommate urged Moreno not to leave, Moreno became upset, according to the complaint.

The roommate said Moreno began to fire his handgun inside the apartment – more than once but fewer than 10 times, police reported. When investigators visited the apartment after the incident, they found bullet holes in the apartment, according to the complaint.

Moreno, 23, left his apartment, despite his roommate’s opposition, and police say he drove his blue Ford Explorer into Scheels at 2:35 a.m. Saturday, according to a complaint. He then is accused of walking up the stairs inside the Scheels, while armed with a 9mm handgun, and smashing a glass case containing ammunition and firearms, police reported.

He admitted to “dry firing” several weapons, and while officers were approaching the store, they heard a single gunshot from inside, according to the complaint.

Officers identified four bullet holes in the windshield of Moreno’s  vehicle, and they found at least one 9mm shell casing at the scene.

Moreno was taken into custody about 8:45 a.m. – it took authorities several hours to locate and apprehend Moreno, officials said.

Moreno does not have a permit to carry a weapon, according to police. He admitted to having consumed alcohol, and his blood alcohol content tested at .150, police reported.

Scheels was closed at the time and no one was injured in the incident, police reported, but there were people working in the mall when Moreno is accused of crashing into the store.

Scheels had to close its doors Saturday – the first weekend day following Christmas. And police reported that Moreno did thousands of dollars of damage to the store’s entryway.

Scheels has been back open since Sunday.

Moreno faces several charges including first-degree burglary and intimidation with a dangerous weapon, both felonies, two counts of reckless use of a firearm, carrying weapons, and operating while intoxicated.

His criminal history in Iowa is minimal, according to online court records. He was convicted of public intoxication last year, and he has a handful of driving violations.

Moreno is listed as a University of Iowa student in the online directory. He was no longer being held at the Johnson County Jail on Monday morning.

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